38 RAPID POPULATION
ment may be pressured to divert investment funds from industi tion. More generally, different parts of the social system, to the their membership is age-defined, take on a different relative confi§ consequence of population growth, and change the power bal society. As with the assessment of the consequences of other c changes, there are two levels of consideration: a change fron-equilibrium situation is disburbing to the status quo, and a new st fails to emerge, so that continual adjustment rather than merely to a new equilibrium is required.
One outstanding consequence of the modification described i: in the dependency ratio as a consequence of an increase in the rat (The dependency ratio is the ratio of that part of the populatic produce sufficiently to meet its own needs-say those under age 65—to those in the intermediate ages.) Although this is clearly : burden on the society, it may be more bearable, because of thre circumstances: first, the mortality decline that produces the cl age distribution may be associated with morbidity decline and b because the producing population is healthier it is likely to be n tive. Second, the labor force, as the key subpopulation, will, lik< population, be younger. Finally—a more subtle point—it is po< decline in mortality, representing as it does a decrease in the ro and unpredictability in human affairs, may diminish the sense strengthen the feeling that it is feasible to control the environme meaningful long-range plans, promote a sense of future-orientati erally increase the prominence of secular rather than sacred attitu
One characteristic of a high-mortality society, in toto and wi stituent groups, is a strong correspondence between respect, auth< and power, on the one hand, and age, on the other—to some ext tive of performance. In a low-mortality, high-fertility society wit! bers of young people, the respect for age and the status quo decline and those organizations unprepared for this phenomei subjected to great stress.
A final point concerns the possibility that a society will experi because individual characteristics are a function of age. If, for could be demonstrated that youth is linked with liberalism a conservatism, as is commonly believed, then a growing population its more youthful age structure, would be a more liberal po apparent support of this proposition, many modern revolutionary have been associated with, and have utilized, an increase in tin young adults. It is difficult to differentiate in this situation the c of youthfulness, per se, and the extent to which the brunt c vantages of change falls predominantly on the young adults, or, f for employment opportunities for entrants into the labor force, for medical services and social security for the old. For exarrmle. with an increase in the number of school-aee children, the sovern-oer caoita costs of sovern-shine returns: it would notelated collective consumption needs would stay largely unchanged for the better part of a decade, and